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Around The Grange
How the first Grange was chartered in Georgia since 1885

By Michael Martin, Membership/Leadership Director (National Grange Article 12/2013)

  JANUARY 6, 2014 --

In January, the South Carolina State Grange staffed an informational booth at the first annual South Carolina Agribusiness and Farm Exposition. 

Former National Lecturer Pete Pompper, North Carolina State Grange Membership Director Jessica Horton and I assisted State Master Jerry Martin with this exhibit. Jerry, assisted by Communications Director Amanda Leigh Brozana, purchased a full-page ad in the exposition program, which gained much publicity among this agricultural audience. 

In addition to speaking with hundreds of exhibition participants and visitors, we made a connection with a fledgling group of hobby farmers. We spoke frequently throughout the event. 

The hobby farmer group had formed via Facebook about four months prior and already had 350 “likes” on their Facebook page. As a result, Jerry Martin invited the hobby farmers to attend a Grange meeting and Jerry attended several hobby farmer meetings and events.

Out of this cross-pollination of experiences and ideas, the hobby farmers, being a very new organization, really liked the organizational structure of the Grange (local, state, national) and were highly enthusiastic about the local autonomy of Subordinate Granges.

Some of the hobby farmers were in nearby Georgia. They started talking with Jerry about how to organize a Grange for their colleagues. Jerry referred them to me, and soon we had a round-robin discussion via telephone and email between David Young, organizer of the Hobby Farmers of the Central Savannah River Area in Georgia and Jerry, Pete, Jessica and myself. Many thanks to Jimmy Gentry and the North Carolina State Grange for allowing the flexibility for Jessica to travel repeatedly to Georgia.

In a matter of several weeks an informational meeting was scheduled in Augusta, Georgia. This was followed two weeks later by an organizational meeting, and on August 8, 2013 Savannah River Grange was organized. This is the first Grange organized in Georgia since 1885! 

So, welcome Savannah River Grange to our Order and congratulations to the team effort that made this possible.

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